Whole Brazano

Agata says:

Here is a light seafood dish for anyone who enjoys settling into a whole fish, like Branzino, head, bones and all. Connoisseurs know that a great deal of flavor is imparted from the skeleton of the fish and the cartilage along the bones. Once you try it a few times, you will become expert at deconstructing the body so you end up with truly boneless fillets. They will be more tender and succulent than you could have ever imagined.

You can adapt this recipe to Red Snapper, Black Sea Bass, Branzino, Striped Bass, Orata or any fish around 2-3 pounds in weight.

The herb selection is only limited by availability and by your own personal taste. We prefer a combination of tarragon, thyme, a little sage and rosemary. Cooking times will vary slightly according to the weight of the fish and the intensity of your oven. Be sure to check your fish once you can smell it cooking, because that usually means it is ready. You never, ever want to overcook a whole fish. There is no greater sacrilege.

Whole Roasted Fish with Fresh Herbs


1 whole cleaned fish – approx. 3 lbs. (Red Snapper, Black Sea Bass, Branzino, Striped Bass, Orata)
7 tbsp. Agata & Valentina extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, sliced into 1?4"-thick half moons
10 sprigs thyme, plus 2 tbsp. thyme leaves
10 sprigs parsley
5 sprigs tarragon
Small amounts of sage & rosemary to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste


Heat oven to 475?. Cut 4 angled slits on each side of fish, about halfway to bone. Put a lemon slice into each slit. Line a baking sheet with an 18" x 24" sheet of heavy-duty foil. Transfer fish to foil. Rub with 3 tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with remaining lemon and herbs.
Roast for 35–40 minutes (less if using smaller fish, test for doneness repeatedly). Cut into foil; carefully pull back edges. Sprinkle with zest, remaining oil, and fennel fronds.
Each fish will feed one ravenous person or two normal eaters.